We hear it all the time from new parents that we know, “He just got his first tooth, so it’ll be awhile before we need to bring him in to see you.” But, did you know that the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry actually recommend that you make an appointment for your baby see a dentist within six months of his or her first tooth coming in? If your child is close to his first birthday, it’s not a bad idea to bring him in for a birthday check-up. It can also help set up positive feelings about the dentist! Keep reading to learn more about pediatric dentistry, and how we can help your child have a good experience.
Avoid Tooth Decay
If you have just one tooth, you can get tooth decay. We don’t like to see decay in any of our patients, but it’s especially tough with little kids because they’re still forming their dental habits. We want to avoid tooth decay in baby teeth (also called primary teeth), because it can sometimes lead to a higher risk of tooth decay in adult teeth, when they come in. Also, any lengthy treatments or procedures can encourage negative associations with the dentist.
By bringing your baby in early (within six months of her first tooth erupting, but before her first birthday) we can help set up great dental health for the future. We can help you learn how to brush your baby’s teeth properly, as well as discuss overall best practices for their health. For example, did you know that you should never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth? The milk or juice can pool around their teeth and start causing problems. Yes, they can develop issues even when they’re babies.
If you’re trying to make your appointment go as smoothly as possible, try to schedule a morning appointment or after a nap, when you know your child will be well-rested and cooperative. Additionally, we recommend avoiding using a visit to the dentist as punishment for bad behavior, and not bribing your child to go to the dentist. These behaviors can influence negative associations with the dentist, which can mean avoiding the dentist later on.